Wine is an excellent people magnet and Westlaker Grant Edmonds, Sileni’s Chief Winemaker, knows all about that. With over 20 years’ experience in the New Zealand wine industry he is passionate about winemaking and it shows. His Hawkes Bay based vineyard has picked up a large haul of awards for their recently released 2013 wines at mainland Europe’s largest wine competition, Mundus Vini and at the New Zealand International Wine Show earlier this month.
Grant was at Westlake from 1971-1974. His interest in science was helped by his former teacher Mr Mathewson and he recalls Messrs Butt and Driver being his mentors back in his schooldays. He was a prefect in his last year at school and has good memories playing 1st XV Rugby for two years and being involved in the Junior Eight rowing team. Grant left Westlake after the 7th Form in 1974 and enjoyed a gap year building concrete water tanks. He studied at Auckland University and completed a B.Sc. in Zoology and from there tried his hand at a number of career options including photography, landscaping and working for the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park.
After his marriage to Westlake Girls’ Sue Alderson in 1980, the couple backpacked their way to the United Kingdom in 1983. After two years they returned to New Zealand where Grant drew maps at the AA before going to work for Villa Maria Wines. He completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Winemaking at Roseworthy College in South Australia in 1988 and returned to Villa Maria as Assistant Winemaker. He transferred to Esk Valley in Hawkes Bay for a few years before returning to Villa Maria in the position of Chief Winemaker. Grant’s passion for Merlot began whilst working the vintage at Chateau Pavie in St Emillon in the early 90’s and in 1995 he moved back to the Hawkes Bay where he started his own label, Redmetal Vineyards. It was not long after that he was approached by Sileni Estates owner Graeme Avery. Currently Grant leads a team of talented winemakers and viticultural staff at Sileni.
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